PEATS Slovakia – Medieval Monastery

Dates: 3rd July-3rd August 2022
Number of UK Participants: 7 + 1 Accompanying Person (minimum 2 drivers)
Duration: 32 days


Basic Accommodation: Room sharing in a chalet at the Kingfisher centre, Sahy

Meals: self catering

Communication: Wifi is available in the main centre building

Transport: A van is made available to the group to get to and from site and for local travel, so some participants will need to have a drivers licence and are expected to share the driving. Public transport is available for excursions.

Weather: Warmer than the UK, can be between 25-35 degrees C but be prepared for rain.


The Slovak/Hungarian border town of Sahy has been the location for Grampus archaeology placements since 2001. The initial focus of these excavations was the medieval monastery, where participants have gained invaluable experience of excavating a site with complex stratigraphy and where several medieval burials have been discovered, recorded and excavated.

The monastery of Šahy, along with 2 other monasteries in the region, was founded by the Hont – Pázmány noble family for the Premonstratensian order in the early 13th century. It was destroyed by the Mongols in 1242, then rebuilt under the patronage of the Hungarian king. In the 14th – 15th centuries it was affected by the war on the throne and the attacks of aristocratic families. It was then that the fortification around the complex began to build. In the first half of the 16th century, due to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, it was converted into a fortress by royal command. In 1552 the Turkish army caused great damage to it, rendering it unusable. Until the end of the 17th century, there was a temporary church and cemetery in the area. It was used by the Jesuit order in the 18th century and then fell into the hands of the Catholic Church. It is currently being renovated and a tourist center will be built in it.

Excavations in the monastery since the 1990s have been attended in several grades by British archaeology students through Grampus Heritage, and quantities of Bronze Age pottery and cracked stone tools also come from the site, but excavations are mainly carried out on medieval and early modern objects and finds. The research material is dominated by building remains and finds from the 14th – 16th century monastery. Gothic, renaissance, baroque building remains and ceramics (pottery fragments and stove tiles), book fittings, etc. This year, the excavation will carry on with the participation of a group of local volunteers and Grampus archaeology students.


Accommodation and Transport

Students will be staying in a self-catering house chalet at the Kingfisher Centre about 10minutes drive from the town of Sahy. The town has shops and bars as well as a restaurant and a bar that has public computers. Transport will be provided in the form of a mini van which you will have use of in the evenings and weekends for short journeys and to use to get to site, so some participants need to have a clean UK drivers licence. Excursions further a field may need to be done using public transport, which the host will help the group with.

The weather in the past has been very hot, but site has been rained off as well, so come prepared for both rain and sunshine and make sure there is plenty of drinking water to hand. Suncream and insect repellent are needed as well. It is strongly suggested that participants buy in drinking water.


Weekends are free so the group can go around and see some of Slovakia. Previous trips and activities that groups have been on include: Sturovo, Bratislava, Budapest, cave visits, castle festival, Ipelsky Sokolecs Goulash festival. With the use of the van and the public transport links, it is advised that the group get out and about as much as possible.

As with most archaeological sites, expect a degree of physical work. As with all our placements, participants are joining partner excavations. These are not UK led excavations. The group will be learning different methods and techniques that are used for this particular site, so must expect differences in how the site is run.

The Funding

The Erasmus + funding will cover accommodation, insurance, supervision, food, provision of the minivan and return flights.

If you are interested in this placement, then the application form is available to download on the PEATS main page.

For past participants feedback, refer to the Participants Reports page


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.